By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Aired May 9, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped April 11 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
The NXT intro theme aired. Ricochet’s entrance theme started off the show with Ricochet making his entrance to Full Sail University. Mauro Ranallo and Percy Watson were on commentary. Ricochet was in a dress suit so it was promo time. Ricochet said every place he’s been all around the world, he made sure everyone remembered who he is and at WrestleMania weekend he made sure everyone was talking about him. Ricochet said NXT is about taking over and he’s going to take over the brand that’s redefining Sports Entertainment. Ricochet said you can call it confidence or being cocky but there is one and only Ricochet. The crowd commented on Ricochet’s socks (I think he wasn’t wearing any). Ricochet said he was coming after the NXT Championship.
Velveteen Dream made his entrance to a favorable reaction. Dream kept saying no. Dream asked Ricochet who gave him the authority to walk to the ring asking for NXT title opportunities. Dream said Ricochet wants to take over but “babe”, Ricochet needs to take a step back. Dream said Ricochet calls himself the “one and only” and “you make this look good”. An “one and only” chant and “velveteen” dueling chant ensued. Dream said there is one man and Ricochet is right, there is one experience, and you’re looking at him. Dream said Ricochet can jump around in the ring to make a name for himself. Dream said Ricochet can flip or flop, but he has to stand behind the line behind Dream. Ricochet said he understands he is the new guy.
Ricochet said he knows Dream, who made the NXT Universe say his name as well as the NXT Champion. Ricochet said Dream might not remember that since his head was kicked off at that moment. Dream said to calm down or “Dream Over” will be a reality for Ricochet. Ricochet said Dream isn’t Ricochet. Ricochet said Dream better enjoy the show and spotlight that he has because Ricochet is here to steal Dream’s show and spotlight. Dream reiterated Ricochet’s phrase as a question. Dream said the fans believe him and he called the fans “candy doves”. Dream said anything Ricochet can do, the Dream can do better. Ricochet asked to prove it. Dream took off his chain and then struck a seductive lying on the ground pose in front of Ricochet. Dream slithered out of the ring to end the segment… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Nothing standout amazing from Ricochet, but also nothing horrendously bad from Ricochet as we’ve seen from him in the past. Ricochet is doing a good job with his promo time now but I don’t think NXT should be giving him 10+ minute promo segments to start out the show on the regular. Dream wasn’t as nuance as we’ve seen him but he has the crowd eating out the palm of his hand. By the end of the segment, those two men sold their upcoming feud well enough…
1. EC3 vs. Raul Mendoza. Raul started off with a side headlock against EC3. Mendoza hit a huracanrana and showed of some parkour ability. Mendoza hit a slingshot dropkick for a nearfall. EC3 hit a STO on Mendoza to gain control. EC3 worked on Mendoza in the corner and then turned him inside out with a lariat. EC3 nailed Mendoza with a blockbuster. Mendoza managed to stagger than and hit a striking combo on him. EC3 gave Mendoza snake eys and then hit him with the TK3 for the win…
Ethan Carter III defeated Raul Mendoza via pinfall in 2:42.
Cathy Kelly interviewed EC3 after the match. EC3 said the loss doesn’t matter at Takeover because adversity makes the man. EC3 compared himself to a scientist, mythical diety, and absolute precision in the ring. EC3 said in the ring you see him going after victory, after victory, after victory, after victory. EC3 said he was going to rebrand NXT and NX3. EC3 said he’s the best here, there, and anywhere. He said he’s the top one percent of the industry, EC3.
John’s Thoughts: Raul makes the most of his moments and had more offense than I expected he would get. He would be a good addition to 205 Live down the road. As for EC3, a good first showing of some of his signature moves. Mendoza being fast paced was a good test for Ethan in his debut. The promo has me intrigued. I hope they plan to move him to being a strong heel because he’s so good at it. He was leaning babyface in that promo which is why I’m intrigued. he can play it well, but it doesn’t hurt to have one of the best heels in the industry as a heel.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch chatted with Pete Dunne. They said they didn’t like him and called him trash. The team asked Dunne if they would like to team up against Undisputed Era to even up the odds. Dunne didn’t give an answer but Lorcan and Burch looked like they totally expect Dunne to be on their side…
The women for the upcoming match made their entrance…
2. Dakota Kai vs. Vanessa Bourne. Bourne was wearing red dominatrix gear this week. Bourne started off the match with a side headlock. Kai came back with a dropkick and then missed a corner boot. Bourne gained control and put the boots to Kai. Bourne yelled to cheer for her which drew boos. Kai escaped a body stretch and then hit a roundhouse series of kicks on Bourne. Kai hit a running knee against the turnbuckle. Kai hit a delayed Canadian Destroyer on Bourne to pick up the win.
Dakota Kai defeated Vanessa Bourne via pinfall in 3:34.
Dakota’s look of elation turned into a look of absolute terror as Shayna Baszler made her entrance. Baszler intimidated Kai into the corner as Kai started to shiver. Baszler sent a cold hearted message to Kai by locking in the Kirafuda Clutch on Bourne in front of Kai. Kai cowered in fear up the ramp and to the back. Baszler had a smirk and look of confidence as her theme played…
John’s Thoughts: Kai looked really good here and Bourne is coming along. The post match stuff was where it was at with Kai continuing to show off a great roller coaster of emotions. Her fear is also working like an enhancement wrestler effect by enhancing the legend of Baszler.
At Gorilla Position, Cathy Kelley interviewed Dakota Kai about Baszler’s successful mind games against her. Kai was still terrorized and shocked at Baszler’s actions. Baszler entered the scene and dared the captain of team kick to kick her. Baszler left satisfied at her latest bully attempt. Suddenly someone was laughing at Dakota Kai. Nikki Cross was shown hanging off some scaffolding laughing at Kai…
3. “Heavy Machinery” Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic vs. “War Raiders” Hanson and Ray Rowe. Otis and Rowe had a punch battle to begin the match. Hanson and Knight started to brawl too. Madness ensued. Raiders regained control. Rowe gave Hanson a Uranage onto Dozovic. Dozovic hit Hanson with an impressive back body drop and then tagged in Knight. Rowe also came in. Rowe no sold some punches but Knight hit a dropkick on Knight. Hanson hit Dozovic with a Suicide Dive. Back in the ring both men took control of Knight. War Raiders hit Fallout on Knight for the win.
War Raiders defeated Heavy Machinery via pinfall in 2:48.
John’s Thoughts: A bit underwhelming. I expected more from these two big men teams, but I’m guessing WWE isn’t ready to elevate HM to longer matches yet. Knight’s ready and I think they should test out Heavy Machinery against War Raiders in a competitive match down the road, maybe soon.
A Street Profits training vignette aired… [C]
Mauro Ranallo advertised Dunne, Burch, and Lorcan vs. Undisputed Era for next week in a trios match…
Tommaso Ciampa made his entrance to no theme music. The immense booing by the crowd can be considered his theme music. An “Asshole” chant ensued. One angry fan told Ciampa that he sucked and that he hated Ciampa.
4. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Kassius Ohno. Ohno quickly bodied up Ciampa and dominated Ciampa at ringside. Ohno wore a Duke Blue Devil themed jersey this week. Ohno hit an inside out dropkick on Ciampa. Ciampa gained control in the ring with some punches. Ohno hit a running suplex on Ciampa and then a running senton. Ciampa tripped up Ohno and then retreated at ringside. Ciampa hit Ohno with a running knee. Ciampa stomped a mudhole in the head of Ohno against the rope. Ciampa maintained control over Ohno by jabbing his eye. Ciampa yelled at Ohno while torturing him by asking him if he’s trying to play big brother.
Ciampa hit some Muay Thai clinch knees from the cravate. Ohno nosold a shot and then hit a straight right hand on Ohno. Ohno hit a series of elbows and boots on Ciampa. Ohno drove his elbow into the temple of Ciampa. Mauro was heavy handed at this point in his support for Ohno and Gargano while hating on Ciampa. Ohno gave Ciampa an exposed knee into Ciampa’s injured eye. Ciampa tried to gain momentum but he was slapped by Ohno off the top rope. Ohno hit an innovative Cravate necktine into a Cravate Atomic Drop. Ciampa hid behind the referee and then regained control. Ciampa dug into the eye of Ohno. Ohno missed his flying elbow.
Ciampa hit the running knee that he’s used as a finisher. Ohno kicked out at two. Ohno and Ciampa had a viscious strong style exchanges with stiff elbows and a lariat by Ciampa. Tommaso Ciampa hit a swinging headlock driver on Ohno for the win. Mauro yelled “Oh nooooo! Dammit!!!”…
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Kassius Ohno via pinfall in 9:27.
Mauro and Percy ran through the match highlights. The crowd chanted “you still suck” at Ciampa while he soaked in the jeers. Ciampa ripped off his gold knee brace and then used it as a weapon on Ohno. Ciampa choked Ohno with the brace like Gargano did to him at New Orleans. Ciampa said he broke Johnny Gargano’s body and broke Candice’s heart. Ciampa said the Gargano fairy tale is over. NXT closed with Ciampa soaking up more heat up the ramp.
John’s Thoughts: Kassius Ohno is going to deserve a “gold watch” title run at some point because he did a great job boosting Ciampa there and is playing the NXT Player Coach role well. As far as character was concerned, Ohno showed great fire here and some of his best character work since he’s returned to WWE. Ciampa’s a monster now. He has a monster look, monster ability, and monster heat. What happens when they unleash this monster on the rest of the NXT roster? Some feuds overstay their welcome, but NXT has done a good job keeping this feud fresh and intriguing. Can’t wait to see the next step. Some people would say that Mauro was being a bit exaggerated, and yes he was; but it’s good to finally have a “trusted voice” back in WWE.
Another jam packed episode of NXT with just the right amount of exposition. NXT continues to not waste a minute. Why can’t we see this on the WWE Main Roster? They would be drawing in more fans that way with how intelligent people’s tastes have become in 2018. The opening three segments were underwhelming for my expectations, but they still did their jobs. The Tommaso Ciampa stuff continues to be a highlight in professional wrestling. It’s just so astonishing seeing this guy stand in the middle of the ring and soak up boos. I’ll be by tomorrow with my Hit List and Member’s Exclusive Audio Review.